Despite a number of high-profile free agents coming off the board prior to team owners imposing a lockout, plenty of difference-makers remain available to sign. One of those is Freddie Freeman, who just helped lead the Atlanta Braves to their first World Series since 1995.
Heading into the offseason it was widely presumed Freeman and the Braves would quickly agree to a contract. However, multiple reports indicate the two sides are in disagreement over a potential sixth year for a new contract.
With Freeman still on the open market, it has opened the door for other teams to potentially enter the mix. The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees reportedly are among the clubs to express interest in signing the 2020 National League MVP.
During a recent episode of the “Big Time Baseball” podcast, Jon Heyman of MLB Network revealed that Freeman is seeking a six-year contract with a total value of roughly $180 million:
“It’s very interesting that he’s still out there. Everybody figured he would be going back to the Braves, but I think at this point you can say it’s not a definite. I don’t think there’s any way around that. My understanding is he wants six years and around $180 million. Doesn’t seem unreasonable to me with what he’s accomplished.
“They used to give 10-year deals to 32-year-olds; A-Rod and Pujols, around 32, got 10-year deals as free agent. … I’m surprised it’s gotten to this point, but since it has, there’s no question we’ve got to consider the possibility that he might leave. The Dodgers do make sense. They could slide Muncy over to second; obviously losing Seager takes a big left-handed bat. You wonder though if Muncy can play second on a regular basis. … And the Yankees certainly like Freeman. They are interested and involved.”
Just a decade ago, it wouldn’t have been uncommon for a team to sign a 32-year-old first baseman to a six-year, $180 contract. That isn’t the case in the current landscape, however, with fewer clubs willing to commit such a deal to players on the wrong side of 30.
Although Freeman may be an intriguing option for the Dodgers on paper, there are multiple hurdles that would appear to make the signing unlikely.
Because Freeman rejected the $18.4 million qualifying offer for the 2022 season, L.A. would lose their second and fifth-highest picks in next year’s MLB Draft, as well as $1 million from their international bonus pool for the upcoming signing period.
Freeman’s potential fit on Dodgers
If the Dodgers look past the obstacles and are able to lure Freeman away from the Braves, he undoubtedly would help fill the void left by Corey Seager signing with the Texas Rangers.
Furthermore, the five-time All-Star would provide insurance in the event Max Muncy isn’t ready to go for the start of the 2022 season. Muncy recently revealed his recovery from a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his left elbow has been slower than anticipated.
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